Our Work

Environmentally Friendly Drilling Virtual Site

The Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems (EFD) program, managed by HARC, provides unbiased science to identify and transfer cost effective technologies that can develop natural resources in an environmentally friendly manner.

One of the areas of focus within the EFD Core Program is to create and implement a workforce program to develop teams skilled in environmental mitigation of exploration and production impacts. In order to reach the largest audience, the HARC EFD Team developed the free, online EFD Virtual Site . The EFD Virtual Site offers visitors an options to ‘Tour’ by watching a short video that explains the oil and gas process, history, and terminology. Visitors can also ‘Explore’ either the Virtual Drilling Rig or Virtual Hydraulic Fracturing Site. Working with industry, environmental organizations, and academia, the Virtual Rig was launched in 2012. The Virtual Hydraulic Fracturing site was released in 2014.

HARC received two grants to expand the Virtual Site to include a Production Pad Site (funded by The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation) and the Virtual Offshore Safety Awareness Site (VOSA funded by the National Academy of Sciences: Gulf Research Program). The Production Pad Site is for visitors to better understand various processes and equipment found at a typical production location such as storage tanks, wellheads, separators, and equipment for treating and handling oil and gas before it is sold and/or transported by pipeline or trucks to refineries. The Offshore Safety Awareness Site is to help advance innovative improvements to safety technologies and culture as well as the environmental protection systems associated with offshore oil and gas development. The updated EFD Virtual Site will be available online by the end of 2016.

“We are very fortunate and grateful to have tremendous industry, environmental, academic, and regulatory agency partners that have contributed to a valuable resource for such a diverse audience. While this started as an O&G workforce development project we now see that it’s being used for outreach as well as training employees that don’t go out in the field.” – Andra Wilcox, HARC Research Scientist and EFD Virtual Site program manager.

This free educational tool was built using gaming software in order to interactively engage current and future energy employees, geologists, and environmental specialists, promoting environmental stewardship to all stakeholders. The EFD Virtual Site was a Finalist in the 2014 World Oil Awards for Best Outreach Program. The program was named again in the 2015 World Oil Awards. In 2015, the EFD Program received the Southwest & Midcontinent Oil & Gas Award for Excellence in Environmental Stewardship, specifically recognizing the EFD Virtual Sites for distinction in outreach and technology transfer. For information, contact Andra Wilcox –

To learn more about Environmentally Friendly Drilling Virtual Site, please visit

Project Announcements

Researcher Announcement

Rich Haut has been honored by the Gulf Coast Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) as one of the Volunteers of the Month. He is featured in the SPE-GCS Volunteer Spotlight section of the SPE Gulf Coast Section Newsletter “Connect” in the April 2017 issue.

Researcher Announcement

HARC’s EFD Team launched the ‘EFD Virtual Site’ website, a free, online, interactive website/tool to help foster environmental stewardship as part of oil and gas workforce development.

Publications, Lectures & Presentations

HARC's Environmentally Friendly Drilling Virtual Site was featured in the Society of Petroleum Engineers' HSE NOW newsletter.

Press Releases

HARC's EFD Program received the VZ Environmental Award for Excellence in Environmental Stewardship at the Southwest and Midcontintent gala ceremony on October 15, 2015.


Primary Researcher